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Advice to get into the college I want?

I'm looking at prestigious universities like Berkeley #college-advice #college-selection


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F’s Answer

Start early!
Talk to your family, friends parents, teachers and school counselors to find out if they have any connections at the school.

Contact the school’s admission department and express an interest in their school. You can do this by calling or looking on their website and emailing an admission counselor or director. When you reach out, ask for more information about the school and the admission process. Ask about application deadlines, scholarship opportunities, out of state tuition waivers (if applicable), etc.

Make a checklist if everything the admission application require and figure out how to tackle it. If the admission application require an essay letter, community service, references, etc., identify someone who you can ask for help. For example, identify three teaches who you can ask for a reference. Join organizations on campus or volunteer at a place in your local community. Make sure your grades stay above the minimum requirements. Ask your counselor to help you find free ACT/SAT prep courses.

If you start early, you will greatly increase your odds of getting accepted into the school of your choice.

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Kennedi’s Answer

My advice is to continuously show interest in that school. Attend events that they organize, be interactive on their social media, do a campus visit if possible. Additionally, do lots of research! Look up their average GPA requirements, test scores, maybe some activities they really value. However, just use these numbers as an idea. Don't let stats scare you away from applying to a certain college. Lastly, ask around and see if you know any family or friends who attends that school currently or has in the past, they will be able to share what helped them get in. Hope that helps!

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Shay’s Answer

I'm a current college student, but I remember high school like it was yesterday. Here are my tips to get into the college that you want:

1) Take the right classes: Colleges like to see you challenge yourself and achieve excellence in school. If your high school offers honors or AP courses, try to take a good number of those. Don't overwork yourself with 6 AP courses in 1 year, but try to take 5-9 or more AP courses throughout high school. Also, take classes relevant to your potential college major. If you want to major in business, take math and economics/business classes; if you want to be pre-med, take a lot of sciences, etc. Do your best in these classes as well. Study hard, prioritize school, and get the best grades that you can.

2) SAT/ACT: Know which test is right for you. The SAT is for students who are typically better with reading comprehension and language abilities and sufficient time is given to complete the test. The ACT usually favors students who are good at math and science, but there is a time crunch. If you struggle with time then the SAT might be the better test for you. Students on the west coast tend to perform better on the ACT due to the math emphasis. When preparing for the tests, utilize the online practice tests that the college board prepares, as they will be the most accurate predictors of what the actual test will look like. The best way to prepare is to take practice tests. Score your best on this test and you will be okay.

3) Leadership and activities: Be involved in activities you actually care about, whether it's a club, sport, volunteer organization, or job. Try to hold a leadership role within some of these activities, as American colleges like to see leadership. In your admissions essays, reference some of these activities and discuss why you were so passionate about them.

4) Social media: Make sure that you're not posting anything harmful on your social media. 25% of colleges look at your social media in the admissions process, so you never know who's watching. Definitely stay true to yourself, but if you're not sure about something then don't post it. On the other hand, engaging with a college's social media posts might help you out a bit. Creating a LinkedIn profile as a high school student can also be a plus since most students don't have that.

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Shay’s Answer

I'm a current college student, but I remember high school like it was yesterday. Here are my tips to get into the college that you want:

1) Take the right classes: Colleges like to see you challenge yourself and achieve excellence in school. If your high school offers honors or AP courses, try to take a good number of those. Don't overwork yourself with 6 AP courses in 1 year, but try to take 5-9 or more AP courses throughout high school. Also, take classes relevant to your potential college major. If you want to major in business, take math and economics/business classes; if you want to be pre-med, take a lot of sciences, etc. Do your best in these classes as well. Study hard, prioritize school, and get the best grades that you can.

2) SAT/ACT: Know which test is right for you. The SAT is for students who are typically better with reading comprehension and language abilities and sufficient time is given to complete the test. The ACT usually favors students who are good at math and science, but there is a time crunch. If you struggle with time then the SAT might be the better test for you. Students on the west coast tend to perform better on the ACT due to the math emphasis. When preparing for the tests, utilize the online practice tests that the college board prepares, as they will be the most accurate predictors of what the actual test will look like. The best way to prepare is to take practice tests. Score your best on this test and you will be okay.

3) Leadership and activities: Be involved in activities you actually care about, whether it's a club, sport, volunteer organization, or job. Try to hold a leadership role within some of these activities, as American colleges like to see leadership. In your admissions essays, reference some of these activities and discuss why you were so passionate about them.

4) Social media: Make sure that you're not posting anything harmful on your social media. 25% of colleges look at your social media in the admissions process, so you never know who's watching. Definitely stay true to yourself, but if you're not sure about something then don't post it. On the other hand, engaging with a college's social media posts might help you out a bit. Creating a LinkedIn profile as a high school student can also be a plus since most students don't have that.

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Melissa’s Answer

Identify the college(s) you'd like to apply to. Research their admittance requirements and guidelines. If you know somebody at the school or who knows the school well (alumni, school counselor) who can help you identify these and help you achieve them, even better. Ask for help. You'll likely need references, so reach out to your current mentors (teachers, friends, students attending that college) to ask for help. If you're struggling with grades in a particular subject, find out what you can do to increase your understanding (tutoring, etc.)

Create a list of the requirements (application form, essay about, extra curricular activities, volunteer, etc.). Identify where you have gaps, e.g. not enough volunteer hours or completing an essay, and make a list of items you need to complete. Go through the items on the list one at a time, with the help of your trusted mentors. Go above and beyond where you feel passionate. This will tell the admissions reviewers what you're excited about and how well you'd fit into their curriculum.

If you're not sure which colleges to apply to, try taking summer or online courses or participating in their summer events (if available). Research the programs you're interested in and the teaching style to make sure it's a great fit.

Most of all: apply. Apply to the schools you really want to attend, the answer is always "no" until you try.

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Kennedi’s Answer

My advice is to continuously show interest in that school. Attend events that they organize, be interactive on their social media, do a campus visit if possible. Additionally, do lots of research! Look up their average GPA requirements, test scores, maybe some activities they really value. However, just use these numbers as an idea. Don't let stats scare you away from applying to a certain college. Lastly, ask around and see if you know any family or friends who attends that school currently or has in the past, they will be able to share what helped them get in. Hope that helps!

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Tony’s Answer

All of the other answers are amazing! But I want to say that the important issue when applying to colleges is to make sure that it is the perfect match for you!

Think of it as a relationship... Not only do you have to be good enough for the college (grades, extra curricular, leadership, testing, etc.), but the college has to be good enough for you!

Don't just go after a college because of its name/ ranking. Make sure that you are comfortable with the people, culture, location, programs, etc.

The best way to see if a college is a great match is to attend a college visit and reach out to some of the students/ staff there and ask questions!

Assuming that you have a solid academic standing and a great resume, if you feel comfortable after a college visit, then you'll be able express your interest genuinely in your college essays, which will increase the chances of you getting in the college you want.

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Theodore’s Answer

1. Get a general idea of what you want to do.

2. Compile a list of schools that you would be excited to attend that also provide options for what you want to do

3. Narrow it down based on where you'd like to spend 4+ years studying

4. Categorize the schools down to if it's a reach or if acceptance is more likely and set goals

5. Figure out what tests you need to take (ACT, SAT, Subject Tests) and if you need to write essays

6. Make sure you set goals based on where you want to get in and study hard

As a side note, these are general steps, it's also important to focus on grades and activities in high school, colleges are looking for well rounded individuals. I hope this helps you get started, good luck!

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Richard’s Answer

The most important parts of college applications are:
Test Scores - Most college require either the SAT or ACT. You're just the right time to begin taking them
(you can take them as much as you want until you get a score you're happy with). Start studying through
Khan Academy or buying study books at a library to prepare.
Volunteer Hours - Colleges always look for well-rounded, good people. A key component to this is how
much of your time you spend volunteering.
Organizations, specifically leadership positions - Many universities LOVE leaders. Having leadership
positions, especially elected ones, will help you both to get in to colleges and to get scholarships.
Good grades in tough classes - Take as many AP or IB classes as you can, and always work to have as high
a GPA as you can.
Essays - The essays are some of the most important components of a good college application. During your
classes, focus on improving your writings skills so that you can craft the best essays you can when your
applications start.

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Rani’s Answer

These are all great points! One thing I would tell my high school self would be to look up the average GPA, SAT/ACT, etc. of people who typically get accepted to the schools I want to get into, and then aim HIGHER than those stats. That way, if it gets more competitive by the time you are applying, or life happens and you don't perform as well as you usually do during one of the semesters, you have some buffer and you are likely to still get in.

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Kristin’s Answer

Look up the requirements for admitence into their school. You can find out GPA requirements, SAT score requirements, and the average acceptance rate.

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Adil’s Answer

Hi Jessica,

I think the biggest advice I could give you is to work extremely hard while in high school. Some people brush off high school like it was useless, but I think it is very important to take everything seriously while in high school. Things like standardized test scores is all about effort and practice. You have to be willing to work harder than the next person they look at when it comes to college admissions.

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Blake’s Answer

I would do anything that you can to differentiate yourself from the competition. One good way would be to volunteer in your community.

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